Margery Wentworth Seymour, Jane Seymour’s mother, was born around 1478 – making her 72 or so when she died and an old woman by Tudor standards. She had a life that climbed to unexpected heights at its start, then devolved into tragedy.
Margery was said to be a great beauty in her youth, even rhapsodized by John Skelton in his poetry as a shy, kind girl reminiscent of primrose and columbine. She married Sir John Seymour when she was around 16 (he was 20). The couple went on to have nine children, six of whom survived childhood and four of whom became prominent at court. Indeed, their daughter Jane displaced Anne Boleyn to become the third wife of Henry VIII – and bear his son and heir. There was no greater pinnacle than royal scions.
There was some sadness mixed in with the good (after Sir John died in 1535, Jane succumbed to puerperal fever in 1537), but the Seymour fortunes continued to rise through 1547. They hit their apogee upon the death of Henry VIII: Margery’s grandson became King Edward VI of England, her son Edward became Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector of England, and her son Thomas became 1st Baron Sudeley and married Henry VIII’s widow Queen Katherine Parr.
Unfortunately, two years later Sudeley lost his mind and tried to kidnap his royal nephew – he was executed in 1549. Margery died shortly after that, still believing in the great future of her family. She missed seeing everything crumble, first when Somerset overstepped his power and was executed in 1552, then when Edward VI died in 1553, four months before his 16th birthday….
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